Delta

It seems that experflyer.com is not accurately displaying Air Tahiti Nui award space that Delta agents can book. Multiple Delta representatives confirmed with me over the phone that four seats in Business Class are available on seven different Air Tahiti Nui flights, all of which show zero award seats in Business Class available on expertflyer.com.

What Air Tahiti Nui Is and Why it Matters

Air Tahiti Nui, headquartered in Papeete, Tahiti, is one of seven airlines that flies into Fa’a’ā International Airport in Tahiti. Only two of those airlines have flights to the mainland United States–Air France and Air Tahiti Nui–and they only fly to Los Angeles.

Tahiti is the gateway to French Polynesia, as it’s the only place you can fly to with miles in the whole string of South Pacific islands. Want to go to Mo’orea or Bora Bora with miles? You’ll have to go to Tahiti first and then pay for a flight (or redeem Arrival miles) onward.

8123613343_9170c525ea_z

Air Tahiti Nui not a member of any of the three major alliances, but it is a non-alliance partner of Delta and American Airlines.

What Expertflyer.com Is and Why it Matters

The only way to search for Air Tahiti Nui award space online is via expertflyer.com, which is a paid service–$100 per year, $10 per month, or free for a five day trial. It can be used for a variety of purposes, one of which is to search for some airlines award space that doesn’t show up elsewhere on the internet. Read more about how I use it in Free First Class Next Month: Using expertflyer.com.  

From patterns I’ve seen (and see now) on expertflyer.com flying Air Tahiti Nui from the US to Tahiti, if you can book 11 months out from your desired travel dates than you’ll have a good amount of options, with a maximum of two seats in Business Class and seven seats in Economy. Wait any longer and space deteriorates as the departure date approaches. 

Wait…Expertflyer.com and Air Tahiti Nui’s Actual Award Space Don’t Match?

A client of the MileValue Award Booking Service recently told me that she had found two seats in Business Class from Los Angeles to Tahiti in October bookable with her Delta miles. I searched the dates on expertflyer.com expecting to find the two seats in Business Class, but was surprised when nothing turned up. So I called Delta (800-3232323) to see if an agent could find the award space that expertflyer.com wasn’t displaying, and they indeed found the two seats in Business Class I was looking for.

I searched for award space on a number of flights from Los Angeles to Tahiti (and Tahiti to Los Angeles) on expertflyer.com to test if this was a recurring theme, planning to call Delta to cross reference.

What Expertflyer.com Says

Dates that I searched range from May 2016 to March 2017:

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 6.57.00 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.39.53 PM

Much like what I’ve seen in the past, there’s a good selection 11 months out and then nothing, except a smattering of Economy seats…

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.40.39 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.40.54 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.41.11 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.41.33 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.42.30 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.42.47 PM

What Delta Says

When I called Delta, three separate representatives all told me the same thing. Each of those flights from the screenshots above have four seats available in Business Class that I could book with Delta miles. Expertflyer.com shows zero seats available in Business class except for the first roundtrip example, which shows only two Business Class award seats. I was also told there are some extra Economy seats on some of the flights that expertflyer.com shows having none.

Cool! So How Can I Book a Delta award to Tahiti?

I did not actually end up booking any of this award space, so I can’t 100% confirm it is possible.

Either way, the message is clear. If you’re trying to book a flight with Delta miles to Tahiti, don’t write off the possibility just because expertflyer.com doesn’t show space. Take the following steps instead:

  1. Sign up for a paid membership or free five day trial at expertflyer.com
  2. Search for the days you would like to travel to Tahiti
  3. Note the flight numbers expertflyer.com shows, even if the dates you want to travel show zero seats available in your preferred cabin
  4. Call Delta at 800-3232323, and feed the agent your desired dates, cabin and flight numbers

I only needed to feed the Delta agents the flight numbers and dates I looked up on expertflyer.com– no other special directions were necessary. They all found the space easily. Hopefully the representatives you talk to can as well.

Cost of Delta Awards to Tahiti

Unfortunately you have to pay fuel surcharges when redeeming Delta miles on Air Tahiti Nui flights.

  • One roundtrip in Economy from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti: 90,000 Delta miles + $422.36
  • One roundtrip in Business Class from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti: 190,000 Delta miles + $532.36
  • Delta miles cannot be used to book partners’ First Class

Awards from other parts of the United States will cost the same number of miles if you find Delta or Alaska Airlines Saver award space to/from Los Angeles.

An Economy ticket purchased with cash has taxes, fees and fuel surcharges that break down to look like this (taken from ITA matrix):

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.48.59 PM

A Business Class ticket purchased with cash has taxes, fees and fuel surcharges that break down to look like this (also taken from ITA matrix):

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.59.56 PM

The sums of those fees (including the YQ amount, aka fuel surcharges) are both very similar to what a Delta representative quoted for me, so from that we can conclude that fuel surcharges are included when redeeming Delta miles on Air Tahiti Nui flights.

Can I Redeem American Airlines Miles Instead then?

American Airlines does not collect fuel surcharges on awards flying partner Air Tahiti Nui. It is a truism of miles that airlines release Saver award space equally to all partners, so theoretically it could also be the case that there is award space bookable with American Airlines miles that is not showing up on expertflyer.com.

Unfortunately in this case the truism is not true. I called American Airlines (800-882-8880) and asked a representative about all of the dates from the screenshots above– that according to Delta had four seats in Business Class available– and they couldn’t find any of the same space. In fact, there was even less space available to book with American Airlines miles than what expertflyer.com reports.

Bottom Line

There appears to be award space on Air Tahiti Nui from the United States to Tahiti that is not showing up in expertflyer.com’s award search results. The award space is at least bookable with Delta miles (with hefty fuel surcharges), and potentially American Airlines miles as well (fuel surcharge free).

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Aerolineas Argentinas is cutting its Miami to Cordoba route in June 2016 and its routes from Buenos Aires to New York, Rome, and Barcelona at undisclosed dates according to these (1, 2) Spanish-language articles.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.56.53 AM

That’s a bit of a bummer because the Aerolineas Argentinas routes to the United States have great award space that you can book with Delta miles, and you can add connections within Argentina on Aerolineas Argentinas’ extensive route network for zero extra miles. Delta charges:

  • 30,000 miles one way in economy to Argentina
  • 62,500 miles in Business Class

Intriguingly, according to these Spanish-language articles (1, 2), American Airlines has met with Argentine officials about starting New York and Miami to Cordoba flights.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.12.28 AM The first article also says American will introduce new routes to Buenos Aires, which would shock me because it already flies there from Miami, Dallas, and New York. Flying from other hubs seems unnecessarily duplicative.

American charges 30,000 miles one way in economy and 57,500 miles one way in Business Class to Argentina. Unfortunately the current American Airlines flights don’t have great connectivity to the rest of Argentina. American’s partner LAN Argentina flies out of a different airport (AEP) in Buenos Aires than American flies into (EZE.)

American’s flights into Cordoba also wouldn’t have many connection options.
Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.13.05 AM

I am keeping an eye on these Argentina routes because it is the country where I spend the most time these days and these Cordoba routes in particular because I am thinking about flying there from the United States in October. Right now my top choices would be to fly American Airlines’ new routes if they are added or Copa connecting in Panama.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.26.46 AM

Copa Business Class award space is plentiful and cheap at 35,000 Asiana miles one way, but not a very good product compared to the flat beds that many airlines offer to South America.

Further Argentina Reading

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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Delta is offering discounted flat bed Business Class awards to Europe this summer on select routes. The East Coast and Midwest routes are 105,000 miles + taxes roundtrip. The West Coast routes are 115,000 miles + taxes roundtrip. The normal price is 125,000 miles roundtrip (although I am basing “normal” on the old Delta award charts. Delta deleted all of its award charts in February 2015.)

You have to book by Thursday (April 21) and fly June 3 to October 29, 2016 on select routes while contending with blackout dates.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 2.48.49 PM

I ran searches of a few of the routes with these settings: a summer departure date, a trip length of 15 days, 1 passenger, roundtrip, Business Class.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 2.51.34 PM

The five week calendars showed some dates at the lowest price advertised and some other dates close to that price. Here is Atlanta to Frankfurt.
Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 2.51.25 PM

Here is Detroit to Paris.
Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 2.52.36 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 2.52.45 PM Here is Seattle to Amsterdam.Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 2.53.09 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 2.53.14 PMHere are the blackout dates for each discounted city pair.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 2.49.10 PM

Bottom Line

If you have Delta miles to burn, this is an excellent sale: flat beds to Europe over the heart of summer for 105,000 miles roundtrip. American Airlines charges 115,000 miles roundtrip, and United charges 115,000 to 140,000 miles roundtrip, and I even think those are good deals.

Check out all the terms and conditions here.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

Delta will no longer charge a $25 per passenger fee to book tickets by phone. That’s excellent news since some Delta partners like Air Tahiti Nui can’t be booked on delta.com.

In February 2015, American Airlines eliminated phone ticketing fees for awards flying airlines that can’t be booked on aa.com.

United still has phone ticketing fees for awards–$25 per passenger. However, in my experience, this fee is usually waived if I put an award on hold online and then call in to ticket it with a story that I was getting an error online.

Hat Tip One Mile at a Time

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

It is cheaper to book the exact same Delta flights to Hawaii with Korean miles than with Delta miles.

  • Delta charges 22,500 miles each way in economy and 40,000 miles in First Class between the mainland and Hawaii or 50,000 in flat bed Delta One
  • Korean charges 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 45,000 miles roundtrip in First Class or Delta One between the mainland and Hawaii

That’s a humongous difference. Instead of costing 90,000 Delta miles to get two people from your home airport to Hawaii and back, you could pay 50,000 Korean miles. Instead of paying 160,000 Delta miles for two roundtrip First Class tickets, you could pay 90,000 Korean miles–even theoretically for flat beds!

To reiterate, these are the exact same flights with vastly different prices depending on which miles you use. Korean has access to all the same Level 1 award space Delta releases to people with Delta miles.

What’s the catch? For bookings to Hawaii, there are two:

  1. You can only book Korean awards for yourself or immediate family members, with proof of relationships.
  2. Korean awards are the same price roundtrip or one way, so you have to book roundtrip (although an open jaw is allowed.) Delta awards can be booked one way (and then you can return home with another type of miles.)

However there are a number of benefits to booking Korean awards to Hawaii:

  1. Korean awards cost fewer miles than Delta awards
  2. Korean awards have no change or cancellation fees if your plans change
  3. Korean awards of Delta flights to Hawaii do not have fuel surcharges, so both types of awards will just have identical taxes of $11 roundtrip.
  4. Korean offers a stopover on roundtrip awards to Hawaii. Delta doesn’t.
  5. Korean miles are easy to get

Getting Korean Miles

Korean miles are a partner of two of the four major transferable points program:

  1. Chase Ultimate Rewards, 1:1
  2. SPG Starpoints, 1:1 with a bonus. Every 20,000 Starpoints transferred earns a 5,000 mile bonus, so the ideal transfers are in exact increments of 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 Korean miles.

Right now, the two best cards to get Korean miles are the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus because both earn Ultimate Rewards that transfer 1:1 to Korean miles.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Starpoints also transfer to Korean miles, and both SPG cards are in the middle of their biggest bonuses ever.

Searching for Award Space, Transferring Miles, and Booking the Awards

You will have to search for award space on the Delta flights on delta.com; then you will call Korean Airlines and possibly email them some documents to ticket the award.

Searching Delta.com

On the home page of delta.com run an award search from your home airport to Oahu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Kauai (LIH), or the Big Island (KOA). I prefer one way searches because I think they display the results more clearly.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.14.11 PM

At the top of the search results, select “Delta Only” to avoid Alaska Airlines flights showing up in the results (they can booked with Korean miles, but at a higher price) and change the calendar to “5 Weeks” if you are extra flexible.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 5.55.00 PM

Here are the results for this fall from Los Angeles to Maui for two passengers. Days that say 22,500 have Level 1 award space that we can book with Korean miles. Other days do not.
Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.15.39 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.15.45 PM

Similarly, here is Kauai to Los Angeles for two passengers. Again, I see surprisingly good economy award space this fall.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.04 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.09 PM First Class award space is not nearly as good. Level 1 space is 40,000 miles each way per person, so that’s what you need to find.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.59 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.17.03 PM Once you find the award space you want that prices at the Level 1 price, note the date, cabin, and flight number. For instance, here is an economy trip with Level 1 award space from Minneapolis to Maui, returning from Kauai to Minneapolis.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.20.15 PM

Flat Beds

Delta flies flat beds from Atlanta to Honolulu, but award space is terrible on the route. These flights would still be 45,000 Korean miles roundtrip even though they are 50,000 Delta miles one way at the Level 1 price. Let us know in the comments if you find any award space on these routes.

Booking Process

I have never booked an award with Korean miles. I am relying on this post from One Mile at a Time. Basically:

  1. You call (800) 438-5000 to put the award on hold. Tell the agent that you want to book a Bonus Award and feed her the date, cabin, and flight numbers of the Delta segments you found on delta.com. For cabin, call the forward cabin on Delta’s planes “Business Class” even though Delta calls it something else.
  2. Complete the Bonus Award Application. You can only book awards for yourself, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and children-in-law. You have to provide proof of the relationship too, which might mean scanning and emailing a marriage certificate or birth certificate. Insane, I know, but you can literally save about $1,000 worth of miles for two people taking a roundtrip to Hawaii.
  3. Call back to ticket the award.
Transferring Miles

Transfers from Ultimate Rewards to Korean are instant, so put the award on hold before transferring.

SPG transfers take approximately five days. Also initiate these after putting the award on hold because Korean award holds are of essentially limitless duration.

Picking Seats

To pick your seats and confirm that your reservation was ticketed correctly, call Delta.

Get Creative (Routing Rules)

Here are the routing rules when redeeming Korean miles to fly SkyTeam partners, like Delta:

  • Roundtrip and one way awards are the same price, so book roundtrip awards
  • You get one stopover per roundtrip award in addition to the destination
  • You can have three segments maximum in each direction
  • You get one open jaw, at the destination only

You can get a stopover on the mainland an open jaw in Hawaii, so you can book something like:

  • Your home airport to Los Angeles
  • Hang out in LA for a few days (or weeks or months)
  • Los Angeles to one Hawaiian island
  • Another Hawaiian island to your home airport

That leaves just a single interisland flight to be booked separately (or several interisland flights depending on how many islands you want to see.

Bottom Line

Use Korean miles instead of Delta miles to book economy and First Class awards to Hawaii on Delta flights. You’ll pay fewer miles, lower fees, and be able to book the exact same seats. Plus Korean awards allow a stopover en route an open jaw at the destination.

Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards are ideal, since they transfer 1:1 instantly to Korean miles.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Which airlines has the best miles and frequent flyer program? United, American, and Delta are the big three legacy carriers that most directly compete with each other in the United States. For that reason, I publish charts that compare their award prices.

I have updated my charts to show the prices that United, Delta, and American Airlines will charge for awards flown October 1, 2016 and November 1, 2016 or later. For travel through September 30, 2016, Delta’s different award prices can be found here.

Economy

All charts compare the cheapest possible award you can book with the airlines, called Saver, MileSAAver, or Level 1. All charts show the price in thousands of miles.

The economy chart has an extra column because American Airlines has off peak dates for economy awards that are cheaper than their normal MileSAAver awards. The asterisk next to the Europe off peak award is because, it is the only off peak award bookable on American Airlines partners. All other off peak awards must fly American Airlines planes only.

The slashes in the American column show the price for flying on American (cheaper) and partners (more expensive.)

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 7.06.12 PM

American’s devAAluation has put its economy award prices roughly in line with Delta’s and United’s.

Delta’s October Devaluation for Business Class came with some economy reductions. Delta now has some of the cheapest economy awards.

The biggest steals I see are American Airlines off peak awards to Central America and Hong Kong.

Business Class

The slashes in the United and American columns show the prices for flying that airline (cheaper) and partners (more expensive) except the slashes in the American cells for flights within the United States and Canada show the price for flying First Class on a two cabin plane (cheaper) and Business Class on a three cabin plane (more expensive.) The slashes in the Delta column show the price for flying First Class (cheaper) and flat bed Business Class (more expensive.)

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 6.47.30 PM

Again American’s changes put it right in line with its competitors briefly until Delta’s changes made American Airlines awards look cheap by comparison again. American miles are still cheaper to Northern South America, Japan, and Korea.

First

Delta doesn’t have a column because Delta miles cannot be used to book three-cabin First Class. To book SkyTeam First Class, transfer Ultimate Rewards or Starpoints to Korean miles. Slashes show the price of flying that airline (cheaper) and the price of flying a partner (more expensive.)
Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 2.16.13 PM

It is almost always cheaper to use American Airlines miles to fly one of its awesome partners’ First Classes than it is to use United miles to fly one of its partners’ First Classes, but both charts are terrible. The only possible value I see is paying 80,000 American Airlines miles to fly JAL’s very awesome First Class to Japan or Korea.

Bottom Line

Of course we all thought that American Airlines would devalue its charts roughly in line with United’s and Delta’s, but I didn’t realize how closely American had copied its competitors until putting this post together and seeing that the airlines have nearly the same prices on all awards originating in the continental United States.

Delta’s changes for travel October 1 or later are welcome for economy travel but terrible for Business Class travel.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

Delta has devalued its miles with no notice (again.)

Effective immediately, awards for travel from November 1, 2016 on are going up in price from the United States to the Middle East in Business Class.

USA to Middle East

Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen

Is: 40k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel October 1 to October 31: 35k/70k
For Travel November 1 on: 35k/85k
Change: 5,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to the Middle East starting October 1, 15,000 more miles each way in Business Class starting November 1

Here is a five week search of Business Class from New York to Dubai that shows the jump from October 31 to November 1.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 5.06.24 PM This is for partner award space, which always prices at the lowest prices. The big difference in the dollar amount is because Delta collects fuel surcharges on these partners.Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 6.27.09 PM

Delta Award Charts

Delta no longer publishes an award chart, but it still has one that prices its Saver award space and partner award space. Since it’s a secret award chart, Delta doesn’t announce changes to it. We figure out the changes by comparing the old award charts to prices published on Delta’s award calendars.

This devaluation is on the heels of several unannounced Delta devaluations that go into effect October 1 on awards to Asia, Africa, and Australia.

I have updated yesterday’s comparison tables of Delta/American/United award charts with this devaluation.

Hat Tip View from the Wing

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to visit, and judging by the number of inquiries I get about booking awards to Hawaii, it’s clear that many people agree. There are a number of cheap ways to get there that I’ll list in order.

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 10.15.24 PM
Waikiki at Sunset

1. Allegiant Air $314+ roundtrip (ending 8/2016)

Allegiant Air is an ultra-low cost carrier that flies from Las Vegas and Los Angeles to Honolulu. The flights are as cheap as $314 roundtrip, but a carry on will cost $50 roundtrip and a checked bag is $70 roundtrip. Additionally if you want to select your seat or board early, you have to pay extra.

If you live in LA or Vegas, don’t mind a middle seat for six hours, and can travel with only one carry on, $364 roundtrip to Hawaii is the best deal in my opinion–better than burning 25,000+ miles on the trip.

You can always pay for your Allegiant flights, bag fees, seat fees, and food with an Arrival Plus. Then you can redeem Arrival miles to remove those purchases from your statement.

Here’s my review of paying $90 extra to get a “Giant Seat” up front from Los Angeles to Honolulu when I flew Allegiant.

Allegiant has announced that it will terminate Hawaii service in August 2016.

2. Avios Award: 25,000+ Avios and $11+ roundtrip

I love that British Airways Avios has a distance-based award chart. For 25,000 Avios and $11, you can fly roundtrip on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines planes from the West Coast to Hawaii. Here are the possible routes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 6.21.15 PM
1: Seasonal

Avios can be used for one way awards at half the price of a roundtrip award, which means that if you can’t get the Avios deal both ways, it’s still a good idea to go one way for 12,500 Avios and use another one way deal.

See here for an Anatomy of an Award post for a step-by-step breakdown of the time I booked a one way award from Honolulu to Los Angeles with Avios.

3. Korean Miles Award: 25,000+ Korean Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class from 45,000 Korean Miles Roundtrip

Korean miles can book a roundtrip in Delta economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 25,000 Korean miles. A roundtrip in Delta First Class is 45,000 Korean miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on Delta flights on delta.com and transfer your Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints to Korean miles.

More info on the process: SkyTeam Partner Awards for Way Too Cheap with Korean Miles

Korean miles can also book Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines Saver award space, but the price is higher: 30k/60k Korean miles roundtrip in economy/First.

4. Singapore Miles Award: 35,000+ Singapore Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class from 60,000 Singapore Miles Roundtrip

Singapore miles can book United economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 17,500 Singapore miles each way. One way in United First Class is 30,000 Singapore miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on United flights on united.com and transfer your Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, or SPG Starpoints to Singapore miles.

More info on the process: Guide to Booking United Flights to Hawaii with Singapore Miles

While it’s ideal to use one of the three previous options to book an award to Hawaii, you might not live in a place that can take advantage of Allegiant flights or Avios awards, and Delta is notoriously poor for releasing award space (which means Korean miles are useless.) The best bet on this list is definitely United opening up award space, which you can then book with Singapore miles.

Getting the Miles

Singapore miles are a partner of every transferable points program. Cards I like that earns points that transfer:

What Wasn’t On the List

  • United miles
  • Delta miles
  • American Airlines miles

Flights on those airlines can be booked cheaper with Singapore, Korean, and British Airways miles respectively.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

1

Back in January I wrote about Delta’s devaluation of awards to Australia, Asia, Africa, and South America effective October 1, 2016.

To give a two sentence summary, a few regions in economy are going down in price, and three regions in Business Class are going up in price.

Awards for travel from October 1, 2016 on are going up in price to:

  • North Asia in Business Class
  • Southwest Pacific in Business Class
  • Africa and South Africa in Business Class

(Did you notice that this is very different than American Airlines’ devaluation where the price is determined by the day you book your award? With the Delta devaluation, the award price is determined by the day you actually fly.)

If you have Delta miles to burn and prefer to fly in Business Class, spend them on these flights before October 1 to cash in on those better values:

Seattle to Tokyo

The current cost of this award in Business Class is 70,000 miles one way. As of October 1, that changes to 80,000 miles one way. The award space forecast for Seattle to Tokyo is stellar from mid May through the end of September…

Delta sea to tyo may:june

Delta sea to tyo june:july

Delta sea to tyo july:aug

Delta sea to tyo aug:sept

Los Angeles to Sydney

The current cost of this award in Business Class is 80,000 miles one way. As of October 1, that changes to 95,000 miles one way. The award space forecast for this route is wide open from the beginning of July through the end of September…

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 7.45.04 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 7.45.32 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 7.46.07 PM

Bottom Line

If you were thinking of traveling to Sydney, Tokyo, or anywhere else in Australia, New Zealand, North Asia, or Africa already, consider traveling before October 1, 2016 with your Delta miles. There is an impressive amount of award space in Business Class. Booking date is irrelevant.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

I tweeted this deal first from @MileValueAlerts. Follow @MileValueAlerts on Twitter and follow these directions to get a text message every time I tweet from that account. I tweet from @MileValueAlerts only a few times a month because it is designed to be used only for the best and most limited-time deals–like mistake fares–so that you aren’t bombarded by text messages.

Travel from Washington or Baltimore to Lima, Peru for $291 roundtrip on Delta from February to December 2016, excluding the North American Summer.

Contents:

  1. When are the $291 fares?
  2. Mileage Earning
  3. Why Peru?
  4. Best Credit Card to Buy the Ticket

$291 Roundtrips from DC or Baltimore to Lima

Search on ITA Matrix by calendar of lowest fares for acceptable trip lengths. These fares are from BWI, DCA, and IAD. You can specify your favorite airport or WAS to bring up all three.

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.03.21 PM

There are $291 roundtrips available between February through November excluding the North American summer.

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.06.14 PM

Hover over a date with $290 roundtrips. Select the number of nights you’d like the roundtrip to be.Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.06.23 PM

One thing I noticed is that all $291 fares that I saw flew out of one DC area airport and into another. That could be mightily inconvenient, but I figured out a solution on delta.com.Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.07.27 PM

You cannot book on ITA Matrix. Instead note the dates and search on your favorite booking site.Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.08.51 PM

On delta.com, I saw the $291 fares. But I also saw that itineraries that flew into and our of the same DC-area airport were only $295.50.

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.15.33 PM

Mileage Earning

Delta has revenue-based earning of miles, so you’ll earn a measly 1,450 Delta miles for these roundtrips, more if you have status. These are V class fares. Look into crediting them to a partner to earn more miles.

Why Peru?

Peru is one of my very favorite countries in the world. See my series of the Top Ten Things to Eat, Do, and See in Peru.

Best Way to Buy the Ticket

Buy your ticket with the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that will offset part of the purchase of this ticket, leaving you only $41 out of pocket.

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases.

See my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like its annual $250 Air Travel Credit, 50,000 point sign up bonus, and access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels.

My second choice would be the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, which comes with 40,000 bonus Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 5.54.18 PM

You could redeem 29,100 Arrival miles to get a free $289 ticket on any airline. You’d still earn Delta miles on the flights, and you’d even get 1,450 Arrival miles back upon redemption. More on redeeming Arrival miles.

Hat Tip Secret Flying

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

Delta is offering awards to London for 22,500 SkyMiles each way this winter. That is a 7,500 miles discount off the normal price.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 6.14.50 PM The details are a little sketchy (just like Delta’s lack of an award chart) because those listed on the promo page are incomplete and incorrect:

Origins & Destinations | Round-trip Award ticket and sale fares for travel from select U.S. cities to London-Heathrow International Airport (LHR).
Fare | $906-$986 round-trip or 45,000 miles round-trip (plus taxes and fees) *Additional fees/restrictions/baggage charges may apply.
Purchase By | January 18, 2016
Travel Period | Travel must begin between February 1 and March 24, 2016.
Advance Purchase | 14 days
Minimum Stay | Saturday Night
Blackout Dates | See city-specific Blackout Dates.
Other Rules | Tickets must be purchased at delta.com.

The US cities with discounted awards to London are not listed.

The page makes it sound like you need to book a roundtrip, but one way awards do price at 22,500 SkyMiles, as seen in this calendar of award space between New York and London.
Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 6.17.30 PM The page doesn’t list exact dates for the discounts, only saying that “[t]ravel must begin between February 1 and March 24, 2016.” The discounted awards go at least through the end of March, though, as this 45,000 mile roundtrip that returns on March 30 shows.Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 6.22.43 PMOne thing that is clear is that the discount only applies to Delta metal. Flying partners like Virgin Atlantic still costs 30,000 miles each way.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 6.17.54 PM

Good Deal?

Booking one way to London for 22,500 SkyMiles + $5.60 is a very good deal. Yes, you could book the same award for 20,000 American Airlines miles from October 15 to May 15 each year, but I value 20k AA miles higher than 22.5k Delta miles, so I’d rather book the discounted Delta awards.

Booking a roundtrip is not nearly as good of a value because of the very high taxes for departing Britain on an award–about $183 one way.

Therefore I’d recommend booking a one way Delta award to London, a low cost carrier’s flight to somewhere else in Europe, and an American Airlines off peak award home for 20,000 American Airlines miles plus taxes.

Bottom Line

Delta is currently discounting awards from unnamed American cities to London. The awards cost 22,500 miles one way in economy. They are a better deal going east. Avoid booking them west because of the high taxes to depart to Britain.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

Delta has devalued its miles with no notice (again.)

Effective immediately, awards for travel from October 1, 2016 on are going up in price to:

  • North Asia in Business Class
  • Southeast Asia in Business Class
  • Southwest Pacific in Business Class
  • Africa and South Africa in Business Class

However, awards for travel from October 1, 2016 on are going down in price to:

  • South Africa in economy
  • Southwest Pacific in economy
  • Middle East in economy

Delta no longer publishes an award chart, so we know about these changes by comparing the old award charts to prices published on Delta’s award calendars for travel from October 1, 2016 on. This is another blow to the value of SkyMiles, which are already the least valuable of any major mileage currency.

Let’s dive into the changes.

North Asia

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Micronesia, Philippines, Taiwan , Russia East of the Ural Mountains, Guam, Saipan

Was: 35k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 35k/80k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 more Delta miles each way in Business Class to Northern Asia

Southeast Asia

Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Vietnam

Was: 45k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 40k/80k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 more Delta miles each way in Business Class to Southeast Asia

Southwest Pacific

American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Islands, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis, Futuna Islands

Was: 50k/80k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 45k/95k each way in economy/Business
Change: 5,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to Australia/New Zealand, 15,000 extra miles in Business Class

Middle East

Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen

Was: 40k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 35k/70k each way in economy/Business
Change: 5,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to the Middle East

Africa (most of it, at least)

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Was: 40k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 40k/80k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 more Delta miles each way in Business Class to most of Africa

South Africa

South Africa is a separate region from the rest of Africa.

Was: 50k/80k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 40k/95k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to South Africa, 15,000 more miles in Business

Other Regions

I have only covered award price changes for awards originating in the continental United States. There are other award chart changes. You can check out the full FlyerTalk thread that is uncovering them here.

Bottom Line

Delta miles have again gotten less valuable if you like to fly in Business Class. In economy class, a few awards have gotten cheaper. As usual, Delta gave no notice of the devaluation.

Award price changes are for travel October 1, 2016 or later. Booking date is irrelevant.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

I tweeted this deal first from @MileValueAlerts. Follow @MileValueAlerts on Twitter and follow these directions to get a text message every time I tweet from that account. I tweet from @MileValueAlerts only a few times a month because it is designed to be used only for the best and most limited-time deals–like mistake fares–so that you aren’t bombarded by text messages.

Travel from Los Angeles to Lima, Peru for $289 roundtrip on Delta from January through May 2016.

Contents:

  1. When are the $289 fares?
  2. Mileage Earning
  3. Why Peru?
  4. Best Credit Card to Buy the Ticket

$289 Roundtrips from Los Angeles to Lima

Search on ITA Matrix by calendar of lowest fares for acceptable trip lengths. Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.10.15 PM

There are $289 roundtrips available between January and May.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.04.05 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.04.50 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.04.54 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.07.10 PM

Hover over a date with $290 roundtrips. Select the number of nights you’d like the roundtrip to be.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.04.19 PM

You cannot book on ITA Matrix. Instead note the dates and search on your favorite booking site.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.08.52 PM

I couldn’t bring these up on delta.com, but I brought them up on Kayak, which then sent me to delta.com where they suddenly were bookable.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.09.43 PM

Mileage Earning

Delta has revenue-based earning of miles, so you’ll earn a measly 1,450 Delta miles for these roundtrips, more if you have status. These are V class fares. Look into crediting them to a partner to earn more miles.

Why Peru?

Peru is one of my very favorite countries in the world. See my series of the Top Ten Things to Eat, Do, and See in Peru.

Best Way to Buy the Ticket

Buy your ticket with the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that will offset part of the purchase of this ticket, leaving you only $39 out of pocket.

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases.

See my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like its annual $250 Air Travel Credit, 50,000 point sign up bonus, and access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels.

My second choice would be the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, which comes with 40,000 bonus Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 5.54.18 PM

You could redeem 28,900 Arrival miles to get a free $289 ticket on any airline. You’d still earn Delta miles on the flights, and you’d even get 1,450 Arrival miles back upon redemption. More on redeeming Arrival miles.

Hat Tip The Flight Deal

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

American Airlines, United, and Delta all release several co-branded credit cards with various benefits, bonuses, and fees.

I have attempted to summarize the following cards on one table for easy comparison:

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® 
  • United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

I consider these to be the “basic” personal card for each of the three legacy carriers in the United States. Each airline also has a lower-tier cards which earn miles at a lower rate and come with no sign up bonus. And several of the airlines have higher tier cards that come with gigantic annual fees and even better benefits. But these are the four basic cards.

  • Which cards have the best sign up bonus?
  • Which have the best benefits?

The chart below is slightly color-coded. Red indicates something particularly excellent. Blue indicates something bad. (Click to enlarge.)

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 8.41.59 AM

Sign Up Bonuses

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® offers 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

You can spend those miles on American Airlines’ amazing award chart, which features some absolute steals like 67,500 miles one way in Cathay Pacific First Class to Southeast Asia. (The American Airlines chart gets a lot worse March 22, 2016.)

IMG_0052
Cathay Pacific First Class

The United card’s public bonus is 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Log into your United account here to see if you are offered the 50k/$2k offer. If not, go to a Chase branch and apply in person for the 50k/$2k offer.

The Delta frequently has targeted 50k bonus offer, and every few months has a public one. Skip it at 30k unless you are desperate for Delta miles.

Annual Fees

The American Airlines, United, and Delta cards all waive the annual fee for 12 months, then charge $95.

Elite Dollar Waivers

United and Delta have added a requirement that you spend a certain amount of money each year with those airlines to get elite status, in addition to the classic requirement of flying a certain number of miles or segments.

Spending $25,000 on your United card in a calendar year waives that year’s Premier Qualifying Dollar requirement for statuses up to Platinum, but not for 1K. In addition, you’d get 10,000 bonus award miles for spending $25,000 on the card in a year.

Spending $25,000 on your Delta card in a calendar year waives that year’s Medallion Qualifying Dollar requirement for all statuses.

American has not imposed a dollar requirement to get status, so its card doesn’t need or have this feature.

Extra Features

My favorite extra feature is that the United card offers cardholders extra award space on United flights that is normally set aside for elites.

Bottom Line

Airline cards offer attractive sign up bonuses, benefits that mimic lower tier status like priority boarding and a free checked bag, and other perks like lounge passes.

I have had or currently have every card in this post for these reasons.

However, airline co-branded cards are generally not the cards to put all your daily spending on because they only earn 1 mile per dollar. Focus on these cards for the bonuses and perks, and put your big monthly spending on cards with category bonuses.

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® 
  • United MileagePlus® Explorer Card (link may be for 30k or 50k)
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (30k)

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

Delta is having a “Pre-Black Friday Award Sale” for roundtrip awards that cost 20,000 miles roundtrip:

  • booked by November 30, 2015
  • flown January 5 to February 24, 2016 excluding February 12-16 and 19
  • with a Saturday night stay

Delta lists “sample cities” on the sales page, but not a complete list of discounted city pairs.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 4.12.11 PM

I did a sample booking from Cincinnati to Las Vegas for January. I searched flexible dates to see more options on one screen.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 4.03.53 PM

There were quite a few options to enjoy the 20,000 mile roundtrip price.Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 4.04.22 PM

Good Deal?

Go search from your home airport to your preferred destination to see if there are any 20,000 mile roundtrips. But before booking, consider alternatives.

British Airways Avios

Avios awards flying American Airlines or Alaska Airlines start at 9,000 Avios roundtrip. Of course, starting next year, the cheapest domestic Avios awards will be 15,000 Avios roundtrip.

United

United segments under 700 miles flown with Saver award space cost only 10,000 miles each way.

Arrival

If Delta is releasing award space for 20,000 miles roundtrip, cash tickets may be very cheap. If the cash ticket is under $200, it will cost fewer than 20,000 Arrival miles. Here is how Arrival miles work.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® comes with 40,000 bonus Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 5.54.18 PM

Bottom Line

Delta is offering cheaper domestic awards for flights next January and February if you book this week. Even at the discounted rate, there may be an equal or better deal with Avios, United miles, or Arrival miles.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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